Take a bow, Gor Mahia, for your resilience!
- When Gor Mahia crashed out of the SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam early in the year many thought that the club’s illustrious run had come to an end and that they might never win anything.
Just before the 2006 Fifa World Cup in Germany, I had a request from my friend Murithi Mutiga who was working on a special supplement for the football-fest to give him a unique story. Getting a unique story meant leaving the well beaten path and coming up with something spectacular.
That is how I found myself interviewing the chaplain of the Brazilian national team Alex Ribeiro. Now Ribeiro and I have a mutual friend by the name of Solomon Gacece who made the introduction. Ribeiro is one guy whose story I had passionately followed over the years.
Before being appointed to the national team chaplain, Ribeiro was a leading Formula One driver and in fact after the death of his compatriot Ayrton Senna - believed to be the greatest Formula One driver ever - many Brazilians believed that Ribeiro would slip and fit into those huge shoes.
This was not to be thanks to a near fatal crash that put paid to Ribeiro’s ambitions. The biggest part of his car remaining intact was the part written ‘Crito Salva’- Christ Saves which had been his insignia all his racing life. That is how he found himself in the dugout for the Brazilians.
But this story is not so much about Ribeiro but more about Gor Mahia winning the SportPesa Premier League for the unbelievable 18th (or do we say umpteenth) time. In my interview with Ribeiro, he told me something worth remembering - that players must be allowed to develop a mind of tenacity and that this takes many people. The coach and the technical staff do their bit on the training ground and the pitch while the spiritual leaders like Ribeiro take over during relaxation time.
Today, I want to congratulate K’Ogalo for holding on to one of Ribeiro’s ideals - tenacity. When Gor Mahia crashed out of the SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam early in the year many thought that the club’s illustrious run had come to an end and that they might never win anything.
But astounding friend and foe, the boys in green went ahead to give a good account of themselves at home and in Africa.
I still maintain that were it not for the poor handling of the team by the officials, we could have progressed on the continental front. As they say, that is water under the bridge.
My appeal to the officials is simple, we are sure that we are going back to take the battle to the doorsteps of some of the top teams in Africa. Please start early preparations. Let us not see the ugly sights of the players sleeping on hard concrete floors of airports. Followed by the not so very intelligent explanation that people sleep in airports all the time. Which is true, but not when they are just about to play an important international match.
I expect that by now we know which players we are releasing and which ones we are buying. In the same vein we need to know how much we will be getting from each and every player sold. On top of this, I expect the players to be paid all their allowances. It demoralises not only players but us supporters as well when we see players almost staging boycotts over unpaid allowances.
In simple words what I am saying is this: just do things right and all else will fall into place. Once again let me tell the boys and coach, well done!